Best time to travel to Australia

Drunken Parrot Season in Australia 2024-2025

A mysterious natural phenomenon leaves vets puzzled

Best time: October–December

Drunken Parrot Season

Every year at the beginning of the wet season, Australia faces an invasion of small, colourful but very clumsy and fearless birds. Red-collared lorikeets (also known as rainbow lorikeets) are stumbling around, falling off trees and behaving uncoordinated. Vets say that they act similar to a drunken person. The birds are most likely feasting on fermented nectar from Schotia brachypetala flowers, also known as the “Drunken Parrot Tree.” The flowering season is late spring to early summer, that's roughly October to December.

Things get worse— the birds seem to suffer from headaches, disorientation, and energy loss—clear hangover symptoms. Although scientists think that there is possibly a virus affecting the birds as well. The treatment for drunken parrots is quite simple—they get sweetened porridge and fresh fruit—a hangover recipe for lorikeets.

However, for some birds hangovers don't go away easily. Many have died and for others, it takes months to recover. Vet clinics and animal caretakers provide a quiet place for parrots to rest until the effects pass, and they can return to the wild.

A rainbow lorikeet is a common species found across all states of Australia. However, during the season, you are likely to find congregations in some areas. For instance, in December 2017, hundreds of these birds visited Adelaide's Botanic Gardens to feast on flower nectar of the Weeping Boer-bean trees.

Practical info

When does the Drunken Parrot Season take place?

The Drunken Parrot Season in Australia usually happens between October and December, which marks the wet season. Red-collared lorikeets are one of the most impacted bird species during this season. Drunken Parrot Trees, scientifically known as Schotia brachypetala, blooms during this season and produces fermented nectar. Parrots feast on it, and this leads to symptoms akin to a hangover. Show more

Where can one locate Rainbow Lorikeets during their season?

Rainbow Lorikeets can be seen throughout Australia during their drinking season. Whether in urban or remote areas, one can observe these drunk parrots. If you want to see them during the blooming season, Adelaide Botanic Gardens might be a good option. Weeping Boer-bean trees provide their nectar, and you might spot hundreds of them feasting on it. Show more

What are the treatments for drunk parrots provided by vets?

Vets primarily provide sweetened porridge and fresh fruits to the drunk birds to replenish their energy levels and help them sober up. Although this solution works for mild cases of drunkenness, severe situations require monitoring the birds' health conditions. Some birds might take a few months to recover from these symptoms caused by the Drunken Parrot Tree. Show more

Are there any other symptoms experienced by these birds?

Other than disorientation and headaches experienced by parrots, vets suspect that a virus could be causing these symptoms, and it is not just the effect of the parrot's drunkenness. These birds require a calm environment to recuperate fully, and patients need to rest to recover from these symptoms fully. Show more

What other species are present in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens?

The Adelaide Botanic Gardens host a diverse range of flora and fauna, some of which are exclusive to the park. During the blooming season of Weeping Boer-bean trees, you might spot various bird species that include Musk Lorikeets, Yellow-tailed black-cockatoos, and Little and Long-billed Corellas. Other than these, roses and irises also bloom during this period, making it a perfect time for visiting the park. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych